Caesarstone® Health & Safety
Caesarstone quartz surfaces are in millions of homes around the world, and comply with the strictest standards of hygiene and sterility.
As the world’s leading global quartz surface developer and manufacturer, the health and safety of our employees, suppliers, partners and communities are our first priority. As such, Caesarstone promotes safe working environments, free of hazards and in compliance with all New Zealand law.
In Summary, the key points are:
- We can assure you that Caesarstone surfaces installed in the home are absolutely not harmful to the consumer. They are completely safe.
- The health risk lies only in the fabricating procedure, if performed not in accordance with safety and legal requirements, and not in the surfaces themselves.
- Exposure to crystalline silica dust and the related risks that may result from such exposure can be reduced and controlled if the proper safety measures are implemented.
- Since Caesarstone began operations in New Zealand, we have provided the independent stonemason with industry information about the safety measures required to be implemented when working in a silica dust environment.
- Caesarstone will continue to actively promote and educate regarding safe handling of our products by stonemasons. The health and safety of workers in the industry is paramount.
- New Zealand’s distributor of Caesarstone, Laminex NZ, is a founding member of the NZ Engineered Stone Advisory Group (NZESAG) who is currently running a Programme known as the Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) Accreditation Programme to educate and encourage best practice when fabricating engineered stone.
Find out more about NZESAG Respirable Crystalline Silica Accreditation (impac.co.nz)
Below are answers to some of the most common questions:
Can Caesarstone surfaces installed in the home be harmful to the consumer?
We can assure you that Caesarstone surfaces once installed in the home are absolutely not harmful to the consumer.
Caesarstone quartz surfaces are completely safe for domestic and commercial use and comply with the strictest local and international safety standards for consumer use.
Caesarstone quartz surfaces are used today in many domestic and commercial environments and meet the strictest standards and requirements of hygiene and sterility.
The health risk lies in the fabricating process (such as cutting, sawing and polishing engineered stone), if performed not in accordance with safety and legal requirements – and not in the surfaces themselves.
A small amount of silica dust may be generated during installation or repair of Caesarstone quartz surfaces in the end user’s home, provided that installation is being performed according to specific requirements for appropriate safety controls. However, this poses no health threat to the end user, since diseases related to silica dust develop only as a result of unprotected and uncontrolled ongoing occupational exposure to silica dust. Silicosis is purely an occupational disease.
Does Caesarstone meet industry standards for health and the environment?
Caesarstone always complies and collaborates with regulatory organizations to ensure that our benchtops meet with strict international safety standards for consumer use – whether for admiring or eating. Our benchtops are approved by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) for contact with food and bear other strict certificates and accreditations of regulatory and safety standards bodies including Greenguard, which ensures that a product has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air.
Caesarstone quartz surfaces maintain the most stringent industry standards for health and environment, as listed below, and as presented on the Caesarstone website.
- Caesarstone products are compliant with the National Sanitation Foundation International standard, ensuring that our working surfaces are safe for use in all food environments.
Caesarstone quartz surfaces comply with ISO 14001, ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001.
- Caesarstone is a registered member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
- Caesarstone surfaces comply with the American GEI (GREENGUARD Environmental Institute) certification, which primarily verifies that Caesarstone’s products meet the most stringent air emission standards.
- Caesarstone surfaces are kosher due to their low porosity.
Guide to Quartz, Silica and Silicolosis
What are Caesarstone quartz surfaces?
Caesarstone quartz surfaces (often referred to as engineered stone) are an advanced solution for kitchen benchtops, backsplashes and bathroom vanities. Historically these surfaces were manufactured using upwards of ~90% quartz and high-quality polymer resins and pigments.
As part of our ESG commitment, we are committed to developing environmentally friendly and low-silica products.
What are silica and quartz?
Silica is one of the most common compounds on earth.
Caesarstone surfaces are made of minerals that include crystalline silica, such as silica sand and quartz.
Crystalline silica commonly occurs in nature as the mineral quartz, and is found in granite, sandstone, quartzite, various other rocks, and sand. It is comprised of two chemical elements: silicon and oxygen (silicon dioxide; SiO2). It is a component of many manufactured products in daily use, such as glass, pottery and quartz surfaces; and of construction materials such as bricks, blocks, tiles, slabs, cement, ceramic and concrete.
Where is silica found?
Silica is one of the most abundant minerals found in the earth’s crust and is used in many products across a variety of industries and workplaces.
|Material||Percentage of silica|
|Marble and limestone||2%|
|Natural sandstone (found in tunnelling, mining, construction)||70-95%|
|Engineered stone||Up to 97%|
What industries work with silica and are exposed to silica dust?
It is important to point out that silica dust is found in many products in our day-to-day lives such as glass, ceramics, semi-conductors and many more.
Working with crystalline silica (quartz) is found in numerous industries including:
- Underground mining, tunnelling and excavation work
- Extraction and cutting of quartzite, gneiss, granite, sandstone and slate
- Glass manufacturing plants
- Brick making
- Manufacture of glass, pottery, porcelain, bricks, ceramic tiles, pavers
- Road building
- Building construction
- Demolition work where potential sites of silica exist e.g. breaking up concrete
- Explosive blasting work
Silicosis is an occupational disease that has been known about for more than a century. It may affect workers in the stone fabrication industry when fabricating marble, granite, quartz surfaces and other natural stones without safety measures. In the quartz surfaces industry, this disease may affect the fabrication workers themselves, and any other person who is present on a regular basis at the fabrication process facilities (where there is silica dust) or exposed to silica dust in other ways.
Silicosis is an incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. It is caused by unprotected and uncontrolled ongoing occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) particles, without the protective health and safety measures required by law.
Silicosis and other diseases associated with RCS are 100% preventable with the correct safety measures, such as wet cutting in place and the use of effective respiratory protection measures.
Silica Dust Hazard Control
Can crystalline silica dust hazards be prevented?
Yes. Exposure to crystalline silica dust and the related risks that may result from such exposure can be reduced and controlled if the proper safety measures are implemented. These measures include, among others, installing proper engineering controls (ventilation and filtration), working with CNC machines and water-injected tools, and using appropriate respiratory protection.
Duty holders must assess and ensure that occupational exposure to airborne crystalline silica dust is below the Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) of 0.05mg/TWA of 8 hours. Always apply your local laws and regulations regarding working in environments containing harmful dust.
In order to control and reduce/eliminate the health risks associated with crystalline silica, we recommend that a Silica Control Plan be implemented in the workplace in accordance with all the applicable laws, regulations, orders and directives. This program should be reviewed on a regular basis or whenever there is any change to the work environment or daily workflow.
It is important to note that the exposure and personal protection precautions are only necessary for the fabrication of Caesarstone products (cutting, sawing, polishing etc.), due to the dust that may be generated in the process, and not from the Caesarstone slab as a product.
The employer, Duty Holder or PCBU is responsible for providing his/her workers with all the information, tools and safety measures required to protect them from the dangers of exposure to silica dust. The workers are responsible for fully implementing the safety instructions. Access to the work area should be restricted to authorized employees only. By a joint effort of the employer and workers, the workplace can become a safe environment for everyone.
What information does Caesarstone provide to ensure safe working practices?
If you work with silica and the fabrication of engineered quartz surfaces, please download and read the following guides:
Caesarstone Fabrication & Installation Guide, Good Practice Guide and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Furthermore, the instructions in these Guides are addressed to employers and workers who fabricate Caesarstone slabs in order to help them control their exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust.
It is important to note that the information provided in these Guides does not replace and/or specify all your New Zealand laws and regulations, which you must comply with and, therefore, you are required to be familiar with and adhere to all your New Zealand laws and regulations and consult with occupational health and safety professionals.
Caesarstone Industry Support
What has Caesarstone done in the past to support safe fabrication methods?
Since Caesarstone began operations in New Zealand, we have provided the independent stonemason industry information about the safety measures required to be implemented when working in a silica dust environment.
- A dedicated team member to partner with stonemasons on health and safety matters.
- Provided every stonemason who holds an account with Laminex NZ (distributor of Caesarstone) with comprehensive instructions and information via the Caesarstone Fabrication & Installation Guide, Good Practice Guide and the Safety Data Sheets. Full documents are available for download via our website.
- Caesarstone supplies each individual slab to stonemasons with the relevant warnings, health and safety information prior to fabrication and installation.
- Collaborated with Impac New Zealand, inviting a wide range of stonemasons to attend to receive training and updates on safe working practices.
How is Caesarstone continuing to help improve safety practices in the stonemason industry?
New Zealand’s distributor of Caesarstone, Laminex NZ, is a founding member of the NZ Engineered Stone Advisory Group (NZESAG) which worked with Impac to create the RSC Accreditation Program. Laminex continues to engage with the NZESAG and Impac to ensure there is ongoing awareness of adequate safety standards and the importance of workplace monitoring.
How does Caesarstone protect the safety of its own employees?
Every Caesarstone production line employee receives comprehensive training regarding the safe handling of our products. In addition, safety guidelines are posted clearly throughout our manufacturing facilities. There are no production facilities in New Zealand as slabs are imported to this country. However, we train our sales staff who visit customer work sites and issue them with safety equipment for use when entering areas where the product is being fabricated. We have a comprehensive safety management system in place and conduct regular workplace inspections.
Useful Links – Law & Regulation
Workplace Health & Safety NZ: Impac https://impac.co.nz/